Last week was restaurant week in Lincoln Square, and when there’s this kind of an opportunity in my backyard, naturally I was going to take advantage of it! On Wednesday, Frankie & I decided a date night was in order and visited Gather, which had been on our to go list for quite some time! Now, I know their brunch is supposed to be killer, but I was definitely blown away by the delicious meal we had, and no doubt we will go back for dinner again!
The menu included a three-course meal, and a shareable dessert, but I’ll be honest, we were so full from sharing five plates (one of them had mushrooms so I couldn’t eat it) that we took the dessert home and I ate all of it later that weekend because Frankie isn’t a pumpkin fan. Not that I’m complaining! It just means more for me! Yipee! But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let me just say that all these plates, GORGEOUS! The first course was Burrata for me and an Endive Salad for Frankie (with a beautiful, pearly poached egg on the side). The burrata was creamy and played well with the tartness of the apple, and the endive salad (without a bite of egg for me) was really fresh and crisp, but had great bites of rich fattiness through the potato croutons and guanciale.
For the second course, I ordered the char because, that was the only mushroom free option, and Frankie had the tagliatelle, which he said he enjoyed, but might not order again because he was never the biggest mushroom fan to begin with. The Artic Char was really soft and moist, but the skin was uber crispy, which I really loved! And the colors were OUTSTANDING! You can’t really tell in the photos because we were seated in a darker part of the outdoor area, but the fish looked SO beautiful on the plate, floating between the little pearls of crunchy buckwheat and bright beet purée! It was a work of art, like it actually could have been something I would find in nature! Ugh! I almost didn’t want to eat it…but I did and I’m glad because it was delicious!
And finally, we ended the meal with Chicken Two Ways for Frankie and Short Ribs for moi! The seared breast was juicy and the fried thigh was crunchy, and both were incredibly tender and tasty! Plus, those broccoli bites were just downright delicious, perfectly roasted and browned (and brown food is good food)! My short ribs = RICH, but incredibly comforting! The only part I kind of pushed to the side was the hazelnut streusel—I know I’ve mentioned this before, but super sweet with super savory is not a mix I really like because the sweet tends to overpower my palate—but everything else worked so well together, and the gorgonzola was a nice way to break up the richness of the meat, not to mention the mustard kohlarbi helped add some freshness to the heaviness of the dish. I mean, it was a CHUNK of meat!
And the reason there is no picture of the pumpkin cake? Well, as I said, we were pretty full after dinner, so we got it to go, and then because Frankie didn’t want any, I ate it all when we got home after I had digested a little bit…and it was delicious, the cake was super moist, but I overpoured the maple bourbon caramel on top of the cake, which made it just a little too sweet for me, but there are worse things! Overall, completely delicious and if you haven’t been to Gather yet, GO GO GO! You won’t be able to get everything on this menu, but if you go for dinner, you can definitely munch on the burrata, the artic char (with different pairings/presentation), and the half chicken (also with different pairings/presentation)! Brunch is for sure on my radar in the very near future (listed as one of the best Brunches in Chicago by Thrillist and Chicagoist), so stay tuned for a possible second recommendation for Gather! —Cooking Maggie
Gather: 4539 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625